The cost of treating dogs for the most common medical conditions

27 September 2022 - 4 min read

Vet bills, like most other things at the moment, are on the up. The Association of British Insurers says the average pet insurance claim rose to £848 in 2021. And at ManyPets we paid out more than £96m in total for claims last year.

Vet care is one of the most expensive aspects of owning a dog, but pet insurance can help reduce the chance of a shock bill.

When you take out a ManyPets policy you'll also be able to make unlimited video calls to a vet. They might even be able to put your mind at ease over minor ailments so you don't have to visit the vet in person.

Unlimited free video vet consultations 24/7.

The cost of common vet bills

The cost of a vet bill isn’t the sort of money many of us can easily afford. Even standard procedures such as fixing up a cut can cost more than you might expect. In 2022 the average claim for a wound is £300.11 but costs can vary dramatically depending on the size of the wound, the breed being treated and where your vet is.

Vets in cities and the South-East tend to charge more than vets in the rest of the country because their costs are higher.

You can get an idea of vet cost trends around the country by looking at our research on the average cost of vaccinations and the average cost of neutering for dogs and for cats.

The most expensive dog insurance claims

In the last year our most expensive dog insurance claim was for a labradoodle involved in a traffic accident. Veterinary treatment totalled almost £14,000.

We also dealt with a claim for a Cocker Spaniel with pus on their chest costing over £11,000.

A person high fiving a dog

£15,000 a year vet fee cover with our Complete policy.

A person high fiving a dog

What are the most common conditions for dogs?

ManyPets customers submit tens of thousands of claims every year. So we've used that data to find the cost of some of the most common vet treatments.

These are some of the most common types of claims we get for dogs – and the average cost so far in 2022 (January-September).

Medical conditionAverage claim payout
Lameness£618.17
Stomach upset (vomiting/diarrhoea)£260.37
Vomiting£489.32
Foreign body£477.64
Ear infection£218.44

These costs give you an idea of how much it could cost you at the vet if you didn’t have pet insurance to foot the bill.

The payments we reference in this article are for individual claims and it’s worth remembering that owners may need to claim multiple times a year or throughout a pet’s life for the same or related conditions – so the actual cost could be significantly higher.

Lameness

The most common claim we see in dogs is lameness.

A limp can be caused by something as small as thorn in a dog’s paw that may not need any vet treatment. But a persistent limp may be a sign of a bigger problem.

The average claim for lameness is £618.17. That figure might be much higher if the lameness is just an initial claim that’s part of a diagnosis for a more significant problem.

For example, one of the most common problems associated with lameness is cruciate ligament disease. Not all pet insurance companies cover it so make sure you read a company’s policy documents carefully. ManyPets is designed to cover the things owners need so we will cover cruciate ligament issues.

Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia can also present as lameness - two other conditions that notoriously might need expensive surgeries.

Arthritis is another common condition associated with lameness.

Both cruciate ligament issues and arthritis can occur suddenly. In medical terms it’s known as acute onset, which makes it difficult to plan for any treatment. Pet insurance is designed to help with unexpected vet bills.

Skin conditions

The average claim for a skin condition or allergy is £260.37. It’s lower than some other medical issues because treatment may be less invasive but pets may need ongoing prescriptions, which can really add up.

And although the claims is lower than for some other diseases, in some cases treatment comes with a high price tag. We once dealt with a £2,000+ claim for a Labrador with acral lick dermatitis, which is also known as lick granuloma.

It’s caused when dog becomes obsessed with licking the same area of its skin. It can open a wound that eventually becomes infected and may need bandages, antibiotics and even surgery.

Digestive upset

Vomiting and diarrhoea claims have accounted for 7% of all our dog claims so far this year and the average cost of treatment is £489.32.

A digestive condition may need repeat vet visits or ongoing medication to help a dog recover. Owners who have insurance may need to make more than one claim and those who don’t will have to cover all the costs themselves.

Digestive upsets cover a wide range of issues such as acute gastroenteritis and colitis. It’s difficult to predict the exact costs an owner will face when treating digestive problems so our figure for the average claim should be used as a guide.

Although digestive issues can affect any dog, German Shepherds and Labradors are susceptible to them.

Seizure

It can be terrifying to see your dog have a seizure and you’ll want to get them to the vet right away to find out what’s going on.

The average claim for seizures is £477.64, but with a huge range of causes, from epilepsy to poisoning, an initial seizure claim could be just the start of a long road of diagnostics to get to the bottom of things.

That means that the overall bill for your dog having fits could end up being significant if you don’t have pet insurance to cover it.

Ear infections

Ear infections in dogs are as common as they are painful. The average claim of £218.44, so it’s lower than many other conditions, but ear infections can need ongoing treatment so owners are likely to make multiple claims.

Dogs’ ears are vulnerable to all sorts of issues, such as mites, grass seeds and bacterial or yeast infections. And breeds with big floppy ears like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels can be more susceptible to ear infections.

ManyPets has covered over 1,700 dog ear infection claims already this year to help owners get the treatment they need for their dogs.

Our Pre-existing policy can cover recent conditions.


Derri Dunn
Content marketer

Derri is a personal finance and insurance writer and editor. After seven years covering all things motoring and banking at GoCompare, Derri joined ManyPets in 2021 to focus on pet health. She has fostered cats and kittens for Blue Cross and Cats Protection and is owned by tabby cat Diggory and two badly behaved dogs.